I have been blogging for almost three years, and in that time, the blog has grown into not just a bigger blog but also a forum and a book.
Let me tell you how I’ve set this blog up somewhat differently from the typical [personal finance] blog.
Many blogs are like online magazines ranging from the hobbyist approach to the professional problogger approach where the latter delivers a well-researched piece like clock work and live off of their advertising income, just like a printed magazine.
However, some blogs also have strong communities and they are more a place for like-minded people to connect with the blogger providing the focus point/place to meet so to speak. ERE is such a blog.
Half of ERE readers have been here since the beginning. I dare say many know each other from their writing. Some of us have met in real life and it is truly remarkable how much we have in common.
After much prodding I started a forum in June 2010. This forum has now become the main center where people hang out. This used to happen in the comments of the blog posts. This method is, however, limited by the blogger. I can only write one or two posts a day and sometimes people didn’t have anything to say. The forums have none of these restrictions. Consequently, there are about 60-80 posts/comments per day in the forums.
If you have a question about personal finance, I strongly recommend asking in the forums rather than “sending a letter to the editor”. The community is VERY smart.
I have also written a book which is doing quite well(*). You can read the reviews by clicking on the 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, A,B,C,D,E,F in the box on the top of the blog. If you don’t see the box, it’s because you’re a first time visitor and consequently see a different box It’ll show up soon though.
(*) Some may be interested in knowing how well. It’s difficult to tell until the curtains go down, but within the first 1.5 months it sold 650 copies and grossed about $11000. This is VERY good for a self-published book.
I consider the book self-contained and complete. It contains all I have to offer on the subject of how to retire extremely early. I have nothing else to add(*). Were I to write another one, the only change would be in the formatting, educational level, or tone. Such plans are currently on the back burner.
(*) Some have asked for an investment-oriented book, but there’s no singular recommended investment method to early retirement, so I can’t write one.
I will say the same for the blog. About the same time I started the forum, I put the blog on auto-pilot. Rather than repeating myself (which I hate) and writing essentially slightly different versions of the same post about index funds every quarter, I simply have a plugin that republishes old posts(*). I find myself writing new posts less and less often.
I repeat. This blog is not a magazine.
Most of the old posts are NOT time-dependent. If I see something specifically pertaining to public events in, say, 2008, I’ll take it down as soon as possible. However, for most of them, you can’t tell unless you’ve been reading along and have perfect memory.
If you’re using google reader, you’re missing out! For some reason Google Reader does not register the republished posts! I suggest using another RSS reader to subscribe. This issue has apparently been fixed!
The blog has about 900 posts and about 13000 comments. You can find a lot of insight going through the comments. If you decide to read through the entire archive, as many have done, I suggest reading through the comments as well. For some reason comments like “Great post, I agree”-one liners have been discouraged (they’re a bit of a standing joke around here) and comments will often contain as many insights or more than the post itself.
I also consider the blog “complete”. Here complete is not the right word because unlike the book, it’s neither coherent or cohesive. You’ll find far more information in the book. With the blog I’ve noticed that I have started repeating myself too often. Therefore I don’t blog a whole lot anymore.
As far as I see it, “early retirement” is a concept of the boomer-universe. It is a problem with a solution. I and a few others solved it within a decade. Some people take longer to solve it, and some will never solve it. It’s not that it’s hard per se as much as it is a question of how much of a priority you make the solution. I got a blog to give a random overview, a book to give the details, and a forum where you can ask questions. It’s up to you now, not me(*)
(*) As ERE has gotten more popular I have also noticed a tendency that the issues became about “me” (personally) rather than the concept of early retirement. I don’t like that at all, and thus I’m slowly fading into the background. I don’t want to be “the face of ERE”, a savior, or a leader, or have it turn into a personality cult/issue. ERE is much more than me now. It’s not just one man’s quest to early retirement. There are a bunch of us now [in the forums].
The way I see it is …
The blog is a way for new people to read along and get a general overview of extreme early retirement. You can read along as passive entertainment knowing that posts will repeat themselves eventually (all posts older than 720 days are subject to reappear). I may write an occasional blog post when I feel like it, but more blog posts are not a top priority.
The book is my final word on extreme early retirement. The book discusses the subject in much more detail and gives a cohesive framework. (The book is not a bunch of edited blog posts strung together.)
The forum is where the community lives. If you want new material, I suggest subscribing directly to the forum feed (see box on top of the blog). I am still active in there, but I am just one person out of many. This is also the place for any questions you may have.